VIEWPOINT: Heat is a Solstice Thing


Last updated 7/16/2018 at 7:23pm

There are two kinds of people in Borrego. First are those who were absent the past two sum- mers around the Summer Solstice on June 21 but were here this year (we’ll call them “Absentees”), and second are those who were present for all three (we’ll call them “Permanents”).

To distinguish between the two admittedly non-scientific groups, Absentees feel increasingly put upon when temperatures exceed 100 degrees, while Permanents tend to become ever crankier as temps begin to rise past 110. The days around the summer solstice on June 21 seem to attract the highest yearly temperatures in Borrego Valley. This year it was 113.8 on June 23. Last year on June 20, RoadRunner Club resi- dent Steven Boyd’s weather station KCABorre15 recorded 127.2 degrees (not official). Official or not, that’s hot.

On that same date, the official San Diego County record of 124 degrees was set in Ocotillo Wells, and 120.4 degrees was measured near Christmas Circle (official weather station KCABORRE7 – see chart.) The year prior (2016) saw a yearly high of 121.4 degrees on June 20. The Absentees have been heard griping about the recent June 23 temp of nearly 114 degrees. “Wow, it sure was hot!” The Permanents have to agree, but with a caveat, remembering the 2017 record heat blast, “You should have been here last year!”

Of course, every year since 1970, the record has been broken for global high temperatures, and we in Borrego just went through a Drought cycle. So, given that the Drought officially ended in April of 2017, and we’re in a “quiet period” with respect to El Nino/La Nina, what’s in store for the rest of July 2018? If past (back to 2014) is prologue, then it’s safe to say, “It’s gonna be hot.” How hot?

Let’s put it on the “cranky”” scale for us Permanents, where it’s a safe bet that daily high temperatures will most days exceed 100 degrees and fall randomly between Slightly Below Cranky (109) and Full-on Cranky (120 plus).

For Absentees, the word of the day is “Quitcherbellyachin!” For us Permanents, the best defense against Cranky is, of course, a swimming pool; floating in water rather than one’s own perspiration is always preferred.

After that, the only mitigation against increasing levels of Cranky is the use, alone or in combination, of an electric fan, swamp cooler, and air conditioner – and won’t SDG&E be happy.

Update: Sunday July 8: Rain, oh glorious rain! A 5-minute squall of heavy rain (measured at 0.06 inches on the KCABORRE7 rain gauge) blew into Borrego from the west over the San Jacintos around 4:50 p.m., preceded by inter-cloud lightning.

The temperature dropped 19 degrees from its daytime high of 113-degrees to 94-degrees in 20 minutes, then ran back up to 104 degrees by 6:pm. The 15-minute rain episode offered short but welcome relief to humans, golf course fairways and greens, and Bighorn Sheep alike. It was only the second measurable rain in the 5-year July rainfall record, with July 2015 measuring 0.16 inches. But we’re only eight days into the month, so a 5-year record is still possible.

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